Patterning is an important mathematical skill. It is one way we turn chaos into order.
Proficiency in multiplication, addition and skip counting (and reading!) all require an understanding of patterning.
Some children have a hard time creating a pattern on their own. Pattern copying and adding on to an existing pattern are important skills children need before they can create their own patterns.
When children become proficient at creating patterns, we introduce other variables to the pattern. For example, when children were asked to read the pattern below, at first they said "orange, blue, purple, orange, yellow, yellow!"
They quickly discovered that there was no way to tell what comes next by looking at the colors, and eventually concluded that the pattern here is "adult, child, adult child," or "tall, short, tall short."
Of course, we practiced more patterns with extraneous variables so the children would continue to solidify and build onto their patterning foundation.
Wendy Joy Yohman
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